Lakers center Dwight Howard is one of the more recognizable figures in the NBA, but has the former No. 1 overall pick done enough to be inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame once his playing days are over?
Our answer: Yes.
Former Lakers forward Nick Young, also known as “Swaggy P,” recently asked this very question to his followers on Twitter. As part of his message, Young made his stance clear, noting that Howard should “for sure” be in the Hall of Fame.
Responses began pouring in from fans and NBA experts alike, with most agreeing that Howard should indeed be inducted. There were some, however, who pointed out the fact that he has never won an NBA championship or MVP.
So I’m having this big debate I said Dwight Howard is for sure in the HOF and ppl was looking at me crazy saying I’m tripping… what y’all think
— Nick Young (@NickSwagyPYoung) February 10, 2020
Though he’s not an NBA champion (yet), the body of work that Howard has put forth over the course of his basketball career is impressive. He’s an eight-time NBA All-Star, a five-time All-NBA First Team selection, three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year winner, four-time NBA All-Defensive First Team honoree and five-time NBA rebounding leader. As a testament to his defensive prowess, he also led the league in blocked shots twice.
For those who might argue that Howard should not be a Hall of Famer, consider the fact that several players with similar resumes have already been inducted, including Adrian Dantley, Bill Bradley, Jack Sikma and Vlade Divac.
Naysayers point to Howard’s antics in the media as one reason for leaving him off of their Hall of Fame ballots. At first, fans seemed to gravitate towards his big smile. However, as his level of production dipped in later seasons due to injuries, his image took a bit of a hit. Some simply thought he didn’t live up to the expectations that were placed on him. Others labeled him as a locker room distraction.
Now back for a second stint with the Lakers, Dwight Howard is aiming to revitalize his career, as well as his image. The 34-year-old big man joined the team this past offseason, signing a one-year deal to serve as a backup behind JaVale McGee and Anthony Davis. So far, so good, as Los Angeles is currently holding the best record in the Western Conference.
His numbers aren’t what they once were, but Howard is no doubt an important piece in Los Angeles’ playoff aspirations. In his 52 appearances this season (two starts), he’s racked up averages of 7.7 points on 74.0 percent shooting from the field, 7.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 19.6 minutes per outing.
Through his first 14 seasons in the NBA, Howard averaged 17.4 points, 12.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game. Notably, the only other players that have matched or exceeded those per-game figures through their first 14 campaigns are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Elvin Hayes.
As part of a 2018 interview with TMZ, Howard was asked to comment on whether or not he should be inducted into the Hall of Fame:
“I don’t really concern myself with what a lot of people say about me,” Dwight Howard told TMZ Sports. “My resume speaks for itself.
“I know what I’ve done in this NBA, in my career,” Howard added. “Think I’ve been pretty successful. A lot of times people always want to hate, say something bad about who you are as a player and a person. That’s just really a testament to their character.”
Championship ring or not, Dwight Howard should be recognized as a Hall of Famer.